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Title: Robustness in moral reality
Author: Ingram, Stephen
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 1437
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis examines the metaethical theory known as 'Robust Realism'. According to defenders of this view, there exist irreducible, non-natural, mind-independent, and categorically authoritative moral properties. The central aim of this thesis is to identify the best way of understanding and motivating these claims. In other words, I intend to develop a compelling metaphysics for Robust Realism. I don't plan to show that Robust Realism is true, but I do plan to identify the best formulation of it. I will thereby put us in a better place to assess its viability against rival views of moral reality. The robustly realistic theory that I will develop is built around the idea that there are necessary moral norms. In other words, norms that have authority in every possible world. I show how positing such norms enables the Robust Realist to defuse two influential ways of objecting to their claim that moral properties are irreducible. I provide an account of necessary moral norms as fundamental entities with a modal jurisdiction that, unlike the many non-fundamental moral norms, is not limited by any contingent presupposition. I show that the mind-independence of moral properties and norms takes us some way toward the elimination of those contingent limiting factors. I use this account to clarify the categoricity of moral direction, and in turn show how the categoricity of moral direction can be used in defence of an interestingly non-naturalist view of moral reality. I thereby give a compelling metaphysics for Robust Realism, but I do not thereby show that this theory is true. I thus consider prominent ways of arguing about moral reality, to assess whether we can decide the matter one way or another. Unfortunately, however, I show that debate about moral reality often results in a persistent stalemate. I diagnose this by appealing to deep differences in 'temperament' and 'existential need'. I thus conclude that we might need to limit the ambitions of metaethical inquiry.
Supervisor: Lenman, James ; Fricker, Miranda Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available